The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Justice Simon Byabakama has disbanded talk that the body intends to rig the 2021 General Elections polls by keeping the polling dates secret.
“I am told that part of the trick and trickery of the EC in the conduct of these elections, in addition to banning mass public rallies, is to keep the date of polling a secret to ourselves,” Byabakama disclosed.
“That is part of the pattern of trickery and lack of transparency; they don’t always want to tell us the date. They always say between January 10th and February 8th, why?” he added.
He made this observation while addressing the Inter Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) leaders at a symposium that was held at the plush Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on Thursday.
Speaking today, Byabakama pointed out that several talk shows he has attended have been laced with this uninformed and unsubstantiated propaganda. However, for the record, he explained that polling dates can only be announced after nominations have been concluded.
“General Mugisha Muntu is here, he will bear me witness, he has not been nominated and therefore I cannot announce the date of polling before nominations are concluded,” Byabakama illustrated.
That aside, he also rubbished other falsehoods being peddled by key opposition politicians following publication of a revised roadmap for the 2020/2021 General Elections late last month.
Whereas a number of politicians claim that they were never consulted, Byabakama said that save for the ban on mass rallies, there was nothing new to talk about.
For one, he explained that a large number of issues had been discussed at the issuance of the initial road map at Hotel Africana back in 2018.
As such, Byabakama pointed out that discussing the same details time and again would only be a waste of time.
“I wish to point out that the revised roadmap is not different in substance and in form from that we launched in 2018.” He observed.
Furthermore, Byabakama elaborated that the ban on open air campaigns was not their own undertaking but that of the Ministry of Health (MOH). This, he said, was intentionally done to stifle infection rates that might arise during the campaign trail.
That notwithstanding, Byabakama retorted that the commission is ready to dialogue with stakeholders on how to deliver a free and fair election entirely.
At the tail end, he says these discussions have nothing to deal with adjusting timelines in the electoral road map considering the meager time left to the polls.
Following consultations with key stakeholders who include IPOD, Byabakama says that they are engaging the Ministry of Health on whether to allow traditional ways of political campaigning.